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on August 10, 2017
Excellent introduction to regex writing. I have years of experience with regex and own several books, including O'Reilly's Mastering regex and Regex cookbook. both very good books, but way above what a beginner would comprehend without tremendous effort. I've been looking for a clear, succinct book for people with little to no experience with regular expressions. And have a few beginner books.
This is by far the most clearly written introduction. It's a small book, but takes the beginner through all the basic parts of a regex, up through lookaheads and lookbehinds.The final examples using Perl were good useful examples, but could have used a little more expansion on how to read the syntax (very similar to SED). I typical programmer will go through this book fairly quickly, but with a solid foundation for comprehending more advanced books and resources.
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on March 7, 2015
I found this book had what I needed to get started, but it quickly got into topics and examples which were not interesting. I still like to have hardcopy sitting next to my keyboard so I'm not flipping through different windows or working in smaller windows. However, for this book, I think a different format would have likely been better. The book references different highlights or colors, which are apparently only available in the electronic formats (there's a note about it on page 3). A couple of the online tools referenced have been updated, so I had to work around the instructions a little to try things for myself and do some of the exercises. So, I think it'll be good for a reference, but it's not great in the print edition.
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on April 25, 2017
This book is a good, succinct introduction and a great reference!

I find Fitzgerald's style and approach to be extremely helpful to accomplish the goal of introducing (the frustratingly non-intuitive concept of) Regular Expressions.

This book's approach affords readers the ability to pick up whatever flavor of regex they desire quickly and painlessly. And it gives plenty of references of where to find more.

Notwithstanding, I could see how this approach could overwhelm novices (who'd get caught up with the syntactic peculiarities between the many varieties of Regular Expressions and the frameworks used).

I also have O'Reilly's "Regular Expression Cookbook" (Goyvaerts & Levithan), but I find myself using the reference section of this book significantly more than the cookbook (approximately 100 to 1).

I hope this review either encourages you to buy and read this book or that it helps you decide that O'Reilly's "Regular Expressions Cookbook" or "Mastering Regular Expressions" (Friedl) is more of your cup of tea.
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on March 11, 2017
Need a technical reference for help in database queries containing server log files.
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The back cover squib declares the book is for "a programmer new to regular expressions".

In fact, this slim volume would be valuable to a great many people who need to be efficient searchers. As the opening line of Chapter 2 states, "[r]egular expressions are all about matching and finding patterns in text from simple patterns to the very complex". Lots of people need this kind of search capability, but eyes quickly become quizzical when you mention regular expressions and grow cloudy when you try to describe them.

The reality is that regular expressions are not intuitive. There is a learning curve to be surmounted.

And author Michael Fitzgerald attempts to make learning how to understand and use regular expressions as painless as possible. For the most part, he is successful. The cover tagline claims "Unraveing
regular Expressions, Step-by-Step". And that's what he does. If you are already familiar with regular expressions, you don't need this book.

But the beginner will find the step-by-step instructions fairly easy to comprehend. Fitzgerald covers all the basics in the first eight chapters. In the ninth chapter, he focuses on the needs of a programmer or web developer - and this may lose some readers. There's a regular expression reference and glossary as well.

I do wish the author had stuck to one tool for his explanations instead of hopping between several, but that is really a minor issue.

Overall, programmers will find this a valuable book if they know little or nothing about regular expressions. For non-programmers who can be convinced they need to know regular expressions, the going will be somewhat more difficult, but the payoff for them is hughely increased search efficiency.

Jerry
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on August 25, 2015
Good book - well thought out and very in depth. RegEx's aren't for the faint of heart, and it takes serious work to figure them out. The book helped quite a bit.
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on September 6, 2012
After struggling with other books on regular expressions, I found this book helped me to grasp the basic but essential features of the topic. This is a great book for easing into basic understanding with immediate payoff.
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on January 31, 2017
Excellent startup tutorial for the beginner.
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on September 12, 2015
Helpful introduction
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on April 27, 2014
Nice intro, will let you experiment so you can put regular expressions to good use. Could be cheaper, but this is my gripe with all computer books.
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